by Jo Barnes | photo by Amanda Cribdon Photography –
Some artists create precise pictures of the real world. But this Saanich Peninsula artist offers us pictures of new fantastical worlds.
Based out of Sidney, Brenda Milne is a painter and sculptor who delves into her imagination and produces a unique line of fantasy art.
“I like creating from my own imagination rather than copying what’s already there,” shares Brenda. “I like fantasy. I find it soothing but also an exciting subject.”
In addition to producing a variety of paintings, Brenda also creates fantasy sculptures depicting gnomes, wizards and other creatures, fairy homes, sculpted fantasy boxes and night lights.
Her interest in art goes back to childhood. “When I was little, I saw this ‘Draw Me’ advertisement in a magazine, where you’re asked to draw a picture,” says Brenda. “The ad was an invitation to a drawing course.”
In high school Brenda took any art course available and subsequently completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, a double major in painting and art history at the University of Victoria. Over the years she has enjoyed participating in local art organizations. “I have studied and joined art groups in the community, but I am largely self-taught,” says Brenda.
Brenda has explored working with acrylic and oil paint, pastels, and various mediums for sculptures. She uses references to settings or scenes that she may have in her mental inventory, but uses her imagination to create new interpretations. “My paintings are composites of what’s in my head,” shares Brenda. “I have so many ideas that I like to explore.”
Like anyone living during this pandemic time, daily life means dealing with stress and uncertainties. For Brenda, it meant retirement came earlier than planned, but it has brought about some positive lifestyle changes too.
“I was laid off from my job with the local Community Arts Council. But it has allowed me to do art full time,” notes Brenda. “I recently converted the bedroom into my studio.”
As well, the current conditions are ideal to pursue her love of fantasy art. “I like fantasy. Reality is so difficult right now, and fantasy art allows you to escape,” shares Brenda. “It’s a sanctuary and a safe place.”
Exploring ideas and the process of creating take energy and time. But it is a pursuit that brings satisfaction and reward.
“I lose track of time, the minutes, hours, and days,” shares Brenda, adding with big grin: “I just love it!”
Whether it’s the light streaming through the trees, the choice of colours in a pool of water or the textures of a rocky outcrop, the common denominator is always an emotional presence in each piece. She paints for feeling.
“Emotions are important,” she says. “Emotions pull me.”
A piece can echo the joy she might be feeling. It might reflect her contentment or even curiosity. In most cases, art allows her to play, to explore ideas, and to dabble with the fanciful.
“It’s important to have a good feeling. I want to smile when I look at the work,” shares Brenda. “For example, if I’m doing a gargoyle, I want it be a nice looking gargoyle.”
Brenda is also motivated by a desire to convey these feelings to the observers of her art.
“I hope I can convey the emotion I feel when I made the art piece,” says Brenda. “I hope when others see it that they can take back the positive from it.”
Sometimes, her creations trigger memories and enable people to connect to the past.
“I did a painting of birch trees and one customer said that it reminded them of home,” comments Brenda.
Sometimes, her art surprises. “I sold one piece to a customer. It was a fairy leaning on a mushroom,” says Brenda. “The customer remarked: ‘That creature has such an attitude. I love it!'”
With no gallery showings or art events possible at this time, online sales are a vital lifeline for artists right now, and Brenda is no exception. Information and photos of her work are available through her website Indigo Moon Gallery www.indigomoongallery.com. She also does commissions on request.
It might be a whimsical fairy atop a mushroom, a sun-kissed forest scene or towering castles in the clouds, but whatever the creation, the works from Brenda Milne’s imagination are emotional, ethereal, and endlessly engaging.